26/04/2016 8:00 PM AEST

What Is Miso Paste, Anyway, And How Do I Use It? Help!

Keep calm and miso on.

If you haven't been cooking with miso, then you've been seriously missing out. The salty paste can amp up just about any boring dish, and it's also quite good for you. Here's what you need to know:

First things first, WTF is miso paste?

Miso paste is made from a mixture of soy beans, rice or barley that has been fermented with salt, water and a fungus. But before you get grossed out by the fungus part, you should know that it carries quite a few health benefits since it's packed with protein, vitamins and minerals

What are the differences between all the colors?

White miso (shiromiso) is the mildest variety because its fermentation time is relatively short. It often takes on a golden color and is great for salad dressings and light sauces. It's best for anyone who wants to try miso, but isn't sure they'll like it.

Red miso (akamiso) is much saltier than its white cousin as it has a longer fermentation period. It's best used for hearty sauces and soups that can stand up to its bold and pungent flavor. 

Mixed miso (awasemiso) is combination of two or more types of miso, usually white and red. It takes on a dark hue and has a strong taste.  

How long will it last?

According to Bon Appetit, if stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator, "lighter varieties will keep for about nine months and darker ones up to a year." But as always, make sure you check the sell-by date on the container.  

How do I cook with it?

Miso isn't just for soup. It's super versatile and works well as a poultry rub, in a glaze and as a sauce thickener.

Check out a few delicious recipes below:

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